The Blues Take Flight

On this day in 1946, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz ordered that “A…Flight Exhibition Team be organized within the Naval Air Advanced Training Command to represent the Navy at air shows and similar events.”

Lieutenant Commander Roy Marlin “Butch” Voris was chosen to spearhead this operation and create a team that would demonstrate Naval aviation to the public. Known then as the “Navy Flight Exhibition Team”. Flying the F6F Hellcat, their first flight was on May 10, 1946 and their first public performance was on June 15, 1946. Shortly after, them team adopted the name “The Blue Angels” after the “Blue Angel Nightclub” and flew as The Blue Angels for the first time on July 21, 1946 in Omaha, Nebraska. Since their inception, they’ve flown eight different aircraft:

F6F-5 Hellcat:   June – August 1946
F8F-1 Bearcat:   August 1946 – 1949
F9F-2 Panther:   1949 – Winter 1954/1955
F9F-8 Cougar:    Winter 1954/1955 – Mid-season 1957
F-11 Tiger:      Mid-season 1957 – 1969
F-4J Phantom II: 1969 – December 1974
A-4F Skyhawk:    December 1974 – November 1986
F-18A Hornet:    November 1986 – 1992
F-18C Hornet:    1992 – Present

Since 1946 The Blue Angels have flown 4500 demonstrations before 300 million spectators. In addition to their demonstrations, they also visit more than 50,000 people at schools and hospitals around the country. They are a vital part of the US Navy’s recruitment efforts and enthrall spectators all over the world.


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